The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

18 October 2007

Malcolm Lyon OBE

I note with sadness the recent passing of Malcolm Lyon. 

Malcolm was Australia’s Ambassador to South Africa (concurrently High Commissioner to Lesotho and Swaziland) from 1981-1984. 

Born in London in 1930, Malcolm moved to Adelaide as a child.  He later studied at the University of Adelaide where he attended St Mark’s College and graduated with a BA with honours. 

Malcolm joined the Department of External Affairs as a cadet in 1954 and served the department with distinction for over 30 years.  In addition to his appointment in South Africa, he served in Port Moresby, Bonn, New Delhi, Stockholm, Wellington and Singapore.

Malcolm made perhaps his greatest contribution to Australia’s international relations in Papua New Guinea.  He was Australia’s Senior Foreign Affairs Representative in Port Moresby before PNG’s independence and later served as the Deputy Head of Mission at the High Commission.  In 1978, as head of a special task force, he negotiated the boundaries between PNG and Australia and was later awarded an OBE for that work.  In Canberra, he headed the South East Asia and South Pacific Division before his retirement in 1987. 

Malcolm retired to the New South Wales south coast where he and his wife, Diana, were active in community affairs and remained in close contact with many former colleagues. 

I extend my condolences to Malcolm’s family and to his many friends. 

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